Paying tribute to Neil Young is hardly a new idea, but it seems to be more popular than ever. Last February Wilco, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Elton John performed a tribute concert to him. This year Patti Smith, the Roots, and Bettye LeVette will do the same. Last year, Fleet Foxes’ J. Tillman dropped an out-of-nowhere tribute album covering Tonight’s the Night. This year, Delaware folkie Kyle Swartzwelder dropped an out-of-nowhere tribute album covering his favorite classic cuts. Why the sudden Neil-mania? The next step can only be a Kennedy Center Honor. Hey, they gave it to a Brit…
YouTube is filled with amateur cover “artists.” Most stink. On the ‘Tube extracts the exceptions.
Although he hasn’t been making music too long, Miami alternative rocker/singer-songwriter Tristan Clopet has stacked up a lot of assets. His voice percolates with soul, and his wailing guitar should make many in the indie world jealous. Clopet has to this point released two EPs of original material: 2009’s Duende and 2010’s Purple, discs which skillfully blend potentially irreconcilable influences into a fresh, exciting creation.
Clopet has also not shied away from paying homage to his influences. To do so, he’s masterminded a semi-regular YouTube covers feature entitled “The Living Room Series.” “I record [the covers] in my studio at home,” Clopet told us, “and [I] want the fans to see me as I am at home.” Indeed, often Clopet’s performances achieve a “fireside chat” level of intimacy that’d make FDR jealous. That doesn’t stop him, though, from occasionally layering on multiple instruments and bringing in his buddy Dan Hammler to smack some drums.
A wren rests on a tree branch. A factory spews smoke into the mountain pines. A waterfall cascades over a cliff. If you watched David Lynch’s ‘90s drama Twin Peaks, you may have recognized those as scenes from the show’s memorable intro. You probably also have that haunting theme playing in your head. You may not know, though, that that Grammy-winning score that will likely creep into your dreams tonight, is in fact an instrumental version of another song: “Falling,” by Julee Cruise.
Adele’s going cover crazy this month, and we couldn’t be happier. Last week we heard her perform the SteelDrivers’ “If It Hadn’t Been for Love.” And now, to quote Monty Python, for something completely different. Adele slows down Cheryl Cole’s pop hit “Promise This” for the BBC’s Live Lounge and…wow. Let’s just say, it puts Vampire Weekend’s recent Cole cover to shame.
If you don’t know Cole’s original, listen to it first. Knowing it makes this cover all the more impressive. Hard to believe this is the same song. Adele’s remarkable voice gets help from a backup chorus and some sassy jazz piano. Promoting her new album 21, the performance delivers an absolute knockout. It’s still January and we already have a frontrunner for Cover Artist of the Year. (via BBC Radio 1)
Back in November we presented our ten favorite lesser-known Britney Spears covers. Early-aughts nostalgia reigned with radically altered takes on classic hits like “Oops…I Did It Again!” and “Toxic.” Well, Britney’s back, and so are we. “Hold It Against Me” turns one terrible pickup line into four minutes of guilty-pleasure pop. The single only dropped two weeks ago, but, it being Britney and all, artists have hopped on the cover bandwagon with a speed we haven’t seen since “F*** You.”
In a way, every song Best Coast performs is a cover. Not a cover of a specific song or artist, per se, but a cover of a genre left for dead decades ago. Their breezy beach-pop takes homage almost to the point of imitation, refreshing a sound not in vogue since Brian Wilson locked himself in his room.